Pass the Mic: Let’s Talk About Racism

Three Canadians tell their story

By Sarah Adomako-Ansah
February 8, 2023

Tags for Pass the Mic: Let’s Talk About Racism

Photo on the left – A biracial man dressed in drag. He is wearing a black headpiece, black leather gloves, a black leather dress and and black and white sweater. Photo in the centre – a Black woman wearing black and red Athletic gear, jumping. She has blonde braids. Photo on the right – a Sikh-Canadian man, smiling, wearing a black and white striped sweater, blue and brown pants, boots, and an orange turban, in the snow in front of a cabin.

Credit: Dimitri Nana-Côté, Rachel Turner, Christian Kuntz Photography

Story text

Pass the Mic: Let’s Talk About Racism, is a series of video interviews from across the country. Diverse profiles. Diverse stories. Giving teachers the tools needed to have important conversations about racism.

We all have a role to play in creating an anti‐racist society.

Pass the Mic: Let’s Talk About Racism encourages students to consider their relationship with racism and learn how to be anti‐racist. Through video conversations with three diverse Canadians, students will understand what it means to pass the microphone to others. Topics range from bias, microaggressions, intersectionality and allyship. The program culminates with a project to capture what they’ve learned take a stand for anti‐racism in their communities.

Dawn Richardson-Wilson: An Olympian with a Story

Dawn Richardson-Wilson bio

Dawn Richardson‐Wilson was born in Accra, Ghana and moved to Canada at age two. After losing both her mother and father, she was taken in the care of her brother and sister‐in‐law. Dawn grew up competing in a lot of sports — basketball, rugby, weightlifting — but fell in love with bobsleigh after going to a recruitment camp. She joined the Canadian national team program in 2018.

In the off‐season she helps at her family’s restaurant and volunteers as a respite worker for children with autism. Dawn is currently in school for sociology and aspires to join the RCMP.

A black woman stands in a dark place between two large projectors. She's holding a helmet and wears a Canadian bobsleigh suit.

It took me a while to realize how beautiful my skin colour was because it wasn’t beautiful in the eyes of the people around me when I was growing up.

Dawn Richardson-Wilson

Photo: Rachel Turner

Dawn's questions:

  • What are some quiet ways you can display allyship?

  • Why are invasive questions harmful?

Gurdeep Pandher: Joy, Light, and Positivity

Gurdeep Pandher bio

Gurdeep Pandher is a Yukon‐based, Bhangra artist and educator. His work brings people from all backgrounds together promoting inclusivity. He is best known for his online dance classes and videos. Watched by millions around the world, they bring joy, hope and positivity to other – especially during the pandemic. Gurdeep’s works have been published by many international art and media organizations, including BBC News, CBC National, The Globe and Mail, CTV National, NBC, etc. Gurdeep was named “This week’s Greatest Canadian” by Global News Radio!

He lives in a small cabin without running water in the wilderness of the Yukon. Gurdeep’s sessions are a joyful way to introduce physical activity, the land of Punjab and the culture of the Punjabi folk dance — "Bhangra."

A Sikh-Canadian man, smiling, wearing a green sweater, blue and brown pants, boots, and an orange turban, leaning against a cabin with a crescent moon.

Once we start to know other people, we learn… we’re similar.

Gurdeep Pandher

Photo: Christian Kuntz Photography

Gurdeep's questions:

  • How do you promote anti‐racism on a daily basis?

  • What is something you’d like to learn about someone who looks different than you?

Dimitri Nana-Côté/Kiara: A Queen with a Message

Dimitri Nana-Côté bio

Dimitri is the biracial son of a Black Canadian father and a Québécois mother. He grew up in Quebec City, but later moved to Montreal to study film at Concordia University. He began performing drag at Cabaret Mado, choosing the drag name Kiara in reference to the character Kiara from The Lion King. Kiara appeared on the first season of Canada's Drag Race.

Man with an orange wig, makeup and an eccentric outfit.

With the Black Lives Matter movement, that’s when I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have had these experiences as a person.

Dimitri Nana-Côté/Kiara

Dimitri/Kiara's questions:

  • What does acceptance look like?

  • What are parts of your identity that make you unique?

Dive deeper

Black history and human rights

Discover Black stories, voices, struggles and triumphs. Learn about personal and collective acts of resistance and the ongoing fight for equality. Reflect on how we can work to end colonial and racist systems of repression.

 A black and white photo of a movie theatre audience. The picture is taken from the front of the theatre looking towards the back, so the faces of the audience can be seen. Potted palm trees line the walls on each side.

Suggested citation

Suggested citation : Sarah Adomako-Ansah. “Pass the Mic: Let’s Talk About Racism.” Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Published February 8, 2023.